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FBI Steps Up Defenses for Attacks on US Food Supply

Posted in FDA Regulation, Public Health

Ellen Beck recently wrote an article for the “Smart Blog on Food and Beverage” website titled “FBI Makes Threats to U.S. Food Supply a Bigger Priority”, that discusses the food industry’s vulnerability to intentional food contamination.  In light of all the terrorist attacks taking place throughout the world, the FBI is becoming increasingly concerned that food might be used to carry out a large scale attack on the American people, for intentional contamination can lead to widespread food borne illnesses that have the potential of infecting millions of people.

The FBI has been tracking incidents of intentional food contaminations and taking a closer look for ways to reduce these incidents from people or organizations that infect food supplies.  Motives for these intentional food contaminations may include terrorism or economic gains.  In recent years, a defense mission has been created through the FBI with the ability to activate thousands of agents to defend the food supply.  This mission uses the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and Hazardous Evidence Response Teams to cover all possibilities and situations that may arise from an intentional food contamination attack.

Beefing up on the ability of the FBI to investigate and predict possible threats related to intentional food contamination started after the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks.  In Ellen Beck’s article she quotes FBI agent Thomas Rosato who states “We get the fact that because of its systemic nature, our food supply would be a very effective dispersal device for weapons of mass destruction”.  While the FBI has a lot of experience with the investigatory process, the Bureau needs help and input from the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies that have intimate knowledge of how the American food systems work to be effective in preventing these kinds of attacks.